Saturday, July 30, 2011

SUYL- Parenting advice

Boy do I have a lot to say on this topic!!!! Not that I am sure any of it is relevant to any of my readers, but I think it's great to "check" your parenting periodically and what better way than typing it out!

Linking up at Kelly's blog

Parenting advice, OK, a few things jumped to mind before I opened this to write. Now I have a blank brain!

I can first say that each and every child is different. You will find your first child and your second child have things in common, yet I feel that your parenting has to be based on the personality of your child. Some things work better for one child, that won't work at all with the next. Be creative and intuitive!

Each child needs special one on one time. I purposely had my kids a few years apart, so each one would get that special bonding time with mommy. I don't suggest you spread the ages of your kids out like I did, because that's certainly not for everyone, but no matter what their age difference, view each child and really focus on their interests, and indulge those interests!!

Give your kids choices whenever possible! I believe it will boost their confidence and sense of independence.

Urge your children to be courageous, to be friendly to others and most of all be honest with them about you. Share stories of bravery, but also stories that taught you a lesson.

When disciplining, be sure that you have their attention. Yelling does not make a child listen, focusing their attention on you while you are speaking to them is what holds their attention. Ask them to look at you with their eyes and have them repeat to you what you said so you know they understood and heard you. It helps everyone to stay calm.

Allow your children to dream. Encourage their dreams. They may be "out there" or downright crazy, but if you listen anyway, they will feel validated and have a desire to maybe one day make those dreams come true!!

When your children disobey, find Bible stories that work with the situation, and use it as a learning experience. We have been blessed to raise our children, but we must not forget WHO we all need to focus on. Jesus is the answer to everything, kids can learn early on to be accountable to God's commands for us. My daughter Acilia has a Bible in her room. When she gets into trouble, she is told to sit in her room. She has gotten into the habit of reading her Bible when she is in her room alone. It melts my heart, because she probably learns more in that time alone; than she would if she was being punished a different way!

Take the time to let your kids do things for themselves. It can be patience testing, especially when you feel rushed, but it really is good for them to learn to do things on their own.

And a silly little side note for new moms, pack a scissors in your diaper bag when your children start eating solids, you have NO idea how much easier it is to cut up food with scissors than it is with a knife! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy birthday to my poodle

My dog remo is 11 today. Anyone with pets can relate to the way that animals have a way of stealing our hearts. I'm a dog person mostly, have had dogs my whole life and I can honestly say I would never agree to not having a dog in my home. Having dogs just makes a house feel like a home. When I was 19 years old, I moved into an apartment in downtown St. Charles. It was an apartment above a store on Main street. I couldn't wait to have a place of my own and when I moved into my apartment I took great pride in decorating and making it feel like home. What I wasn't prepared for was how lonely I would feel living alone. I had not only left my family home where my parents and my brother lived, but I was also living pet free. I didn't last long before I started searching for a puppy. The family pet I left behind was a black standard poodle named Jack. I love everything about poodles, especially that they don't shed! I knew I wanted a poodle of my own. My search ended when I came across a creme colored 16 week old poodle. My parents went with me to pick him up. There were two to choose from. The one I chose had slightly darker colored ears. So cute. We brought him home, I sat in the backseat with him for the long ride home. He kept reaching his nose up to my hair and sniffing me. It was creepy and sweet at the same time! Ha ! I looked through baby names and decided to name him Remo. Remo has been my buddy since the day I got him. He's got personality and he gave meaning to the term "fiercely loyal". He is protective of me to the point where he has to be locked in his crate when we have company and he and my husband have had a few alpha wars. :) I wouldn't trade him for the world though! He is a cuddly pup and I know I am one of the only ones that gets to appreciate that side of him. I am ok with that. I know he would die to protect me and for that I've always felt safe near him. I still remember my apartment days when I would hold him and he would hug me like a panda in a tree. Bystanders would make comments that he looked like a stuffed animal. He's fun and spunky and acts like he belongs in a circus if you give him a soccer ball. He's a great dog and I am grateful I've had 11 years with him.
We celebrated the way we always do; I stopped at the store with the kids and picked up a box of Frosty Paws (ice cream for dogs); both Remo and Franko got to enjoy an ice cream treat :)

Friday, July 22, 2011


I have been wanting to write a post about marriage advice for a while now. The time is now, because Kelly is hosting a marriage advice link up! I figure I can write my advice and then go and read the plethora of advice there!! :) Win/WIN!

 I feel unsteady sharing my words of "wisdom" because Al and I had to fight to get to stable ground in our marriage, it has not been easy and we still struggle, but the good news I have is that we worked together to do it. And God worked in US to make it happen. Those facts alone bring forth a wisdom that I can share and hopefully down the road I can elaborate more with what I learn.

God is the center of my heart. It wasn't always this way and to be quite honest, I walked into marriage with NO IDEA what types of trials we would face. I found myself many times thinking that I had gotten myself into the "wrong marriage". My first step was realizing that I was meant to be with my husband and I do truly believe that deep down. So I made a choice to commit to that and keep it in my heart always.

Advice #1:
Attitude is EVERYTHING!!
We have choices in each and every day. We can choose to look at the negative aspects of our spouse (let's face it, we are all human, ANYONE can find something negative in their spouse) or we can choose to look at the positive (let's face it again, EVERYONE has redeeming qualities, even when we are mad at them).
I choose to see the good in my husband; even when I have to struggle to come up with things at times!! :)

Advice #2
PRAY for your spouse and for your marriage!!
Pray about your spouse's attitude, choices, actions, all of it! And then pray that you as their spouse can receive it and deal with it with LOVE, KINDNESS and most of all PATIENCE!!
It's easy when things are good to get along, but the prayer you do when things are NOT good; that's when you will notice the difference. And I believe God will bless you when you reach out to him to help you with your marriage.

Advice #3
Admit to yourself right now that marriage is work. It's work to laugh and it's work to cry. There is work that is easy and work that is beyond your strength. But overall if you commit to finding the best in your marriage and appreciating what's good and working on what's bad with a level and honest head, you will find that conflict comes no matter what, it's how you deal with it that helps you to move forward.

There was a time in my marriage where I could not tell my husband I love him. I truly didn't have it in me, I was hurt and not having feelings for him the I way I felt I should. In hindsight that was a season in my emotions that needed to be a part of my life to teach me the things I have learned. This was perhaps the time where I prayed the hardest FOR my marriage. God is the only way to keep a marriage together. In the good times and the bad, God needs to be the center of it all.

I am a big advocate for reading to improve your life!! The book related to marriage I highly recommend
The power of prayer to change your marriage by Stormie Omartian. I have SO many pages "dog eared" in this book!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Organ Donation strikes again!

Al has a friend named Jeremy. Jeremy jumped at the chance to be tested as a donor for Al when Al was in need of a kidney donor a few years back. Unfortunately Jeremy was not a match for Al. That could have been enough; but Jeremy wasn't satisfied. Today Jeremy went under the knife as a kidney donor to a recipient he's never met. Jeremy felt just because he wasn't a match for Al, doesn't mean he wasn't meant to be a living donor. Al took Jeremy downtown this morning, they had to be there by 6 am. It is now 6 PM Al is not home yet, I think he's happy to hang there; soaking up the goodness of what's transpired today. Jeremy got through surgery with flying colors and from what I hear he's recovering very well! I hope we hear how the recipient is doing at some point, I love happy endings!!
God bless Jeremy!! It's fun as a donor myself to share this experience with someone that's done the same surgery. And the fact that Al was the reason both of us did it, just shows me yet again what knowing someone on a waiting list for a lifesaving transplant can do in your life.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A positive pregnancy test...

Is what I was sort of hoping for this past weekend. Al and I have two kids, I hope to have one more, he feels pretty content with the two we have. It would be a pleasant surprise to add a third child to our family; I am praying it's in God's plan for us at some point in the future. I was hoping this was the time. My hopes were off though. It didn't happen this month. I'm feeling a bit bummed. More so than I have in the past when a pregnancy was a possibility. Life will go on; I will stop envisioning life with three kids; until the next pregnancy "maybe"...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dude Ranch Pictures

It's time to share! Oh yes it is! Saddle up; there are a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Day 1! 
I adore all animals; I believe I was singing this goat a lullaby! Ha! Just kidding on the lullaby thing :)
Our first trail ride. Acilia rode "Blaster" he turned out to be her favorite horse!
The trails were gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!
One of my favorite momma daughter pics :)
All the journaling that we did; I used my self timer to take a pic :)
This one cracks me up!
Sooooo happy in my new boots!!! 
We visited the sled dogs everyday!
The rodeo

Line Dancing
All packed up and ready to check out
Acilia was saying good bye to all the horses before we left. She would have stayed longer if she could. She L O V E D it at the ranch!

Let's catch up; shall we?

Summer is officially half over; much to my dismay. I feel like I look forward to summer all year long! The beginning of summer was overlooked due to our excitement for the Dude Ranch trip. We got home after 8 days, settled in and now have just been embracing summer (could that possibly be why I haven't shared pictures of that Dude Ranch trip yet?? GUILTY! So sorry! There are just a few over at my photo blog but I *do* still intend to get some here too!)
Here are a few random updates for now:
This summer I have begun working as a CNA. I answered an ad on Craigslist for a couple nearby that requested the assistance of a CNA to work with a stroke recovery patient. It's been such a great experience thus far and I am looking forward to as much time as they need me, watching improvement as we work together a few times a week. I go there for 3-4 hours each time, we usually walk around the block a few times, we do a lot of range of motion exercises, we've worked on critical thinking/mathematics workbooks and anything else that is needed while I am there. I am eager to help and they are eager to reward. It's a fabulous set up!

Vacation bible school starts tomorrow, Acilia was signed up for horse classes through the park district, the beginning of the summer was "Horse Sense" which is basic knowledge and grooming experience. Later in the month Acilia will start 5 weeks of riding lessons. It was my goal to have her with horses all summer without spending too much money, I believe that task has been achieved!

We are very much looking forward to the County Fair which happens at the end of this month, but as much as we look forward to it, I have a hesitance to be too excited, because summer REALLY seems to fly once the fair is over.

I have been enjoying seeking more details about Heaven. It's been on my heart to learn more about Heaven and I have looked it up in the Bible, but also am quite intrigued by personal accounts of Heaven. I recently finished reading a book called "Heaven is For Real" by Todd Burpo. It's a little boy's account of his visit to Heaven when he had a near death experience. It warmed my heart to visualize images that were being described in the book and at the very end I was introduced to a girl named Akaine. Her child prodigy talent has me in complete and utter awe! A 16 year old girl who was painting vivid images of Heaven and Jesus at the young age of 8. Acilia is 8 and though I am usually blown away at her horse drawings, this girl Akaine's talent leaves me absolutely speechless! I urge you to look her up (follow the link I put in for easy access) and marvel at her wondrous paintings.

As for the rest of the summer and anything I forgot to mention, I am eager to savor each ray of sunshine that comes my way. I know it will be all too soon before the snowflakes start to fall and I slip into the period of the year where I truly wish I could hibernate! For now, I am vibrant! Summer is my absolute favorite time of the year!!!!!!!

courtesy of Google

A first for Miles

Last night Al got the idea for us to go see a movie as a family. Acilia has gone numerous times, but little busy body Miles had never been to a good 'ole movie theater. Until last night. We looked for a movie that would hold his attention and since it was 6:30 pm we had to search for a theater that had it playing between 7:30 and  8 PM to give us time to get there, but to also keep us from being out too late. Tough task but we settled on "Cars 2" at 7:55 at a theater about 25 minutes away. We informed the kids it was a movie night and we headed out. I love spontaneity! I warned Al that he shouldn't be surprised if it was a big waste of money, because if Miles wouldn't sit still and watch; we would be leaving. (Similar experience when I took Acilia to see "Over the Hedge" when she was about 3! Once her popcorn was gone, so was her interest in the movie! HA!) I believe it was in our favor that Miles had missed his nap. He sat through the movie very well; his attention was held and he was nice and quiet the whole time! I was very impressed and enjoyed looking over at my little guy as he enjoyed his first "Big Screen Flick" I also really enjoyed looked to my right and seeing my whole family with me in the theater. We usually split up; Al and I will go see a movie on date night, or I will take Acilia to see something that comes out. But never have the 4 of us gone to the movies all together. Made me feel like a "family" :) As if we didn't already feel like one!

The green truck was named "Miles Axelrod" our little Miles was so impressed that his name was in the movie!!!!

Overall an A+ for the evening! EXCEPT when we were on our way home driving through a residential neighborhood;  our car got egged! Ugh! Who still does that anyway?!?!?! Add salt to the wound; we weren't in our car. We are doing an extended test drive on a brand new Dodge Journey. Irony!!!!!!! We pulled over and called the police. Al walked over to where it happened, he didn't see anyone out there, but there were some shutters moving in the house that made him suspicious that it was kids who ran after they did it. There is some minor damage to the paint; there were two eggs, you can see where they hit, sort of formed a "bulls eye" effect in the paint. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A new day

Well God delivered a blessing to me this morning. As he always does when I need it most. If you read my post last night, you know I was in a dark place. This morning, I woke up after a not so restful night of sleep. I picked up my "The power of prayer to change your marriage" book; wouldn't you know the chapter I was at in the book when I opened it, was exactly what I needed to read this morning! And if that wasn't enough, I sat down in Acilia's room to do my reading, next to the radio which always has Klove on; the song playing is one that we sang in church on Sunday. Titled "Cry out to Jesus". Thank you God! Message came through loud and clear!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Crying out to Jesus

I sit here at 12:40 am on the 4th of July. I have no one to talk to; but I sure need to vent. Not sure publicizing my internal emotions when my soul feels like utter chaos is the right answer, but to be honest, I have no idea what *is* right at the current moment.

Hubby left to visit a lakehouse with some guy friends this weekend. I hoped he would get the relaxation and fun he needs; since he works so hard (He's always sure to remind me of this, along with he is the provider for the family and I virtually do nothing around here). He came home this afternoon and my day has felt like shambles since. He came in telling me he missed me; I go out of my way to try to give him some attention; without giving too many details, I wasn't up for the sort of attention he really needed, but I did my best to cuddle and catch up, there came a point where I left the room otherwise I felt like my attention could be misleading. Time came to leave for my brother's house who he and his wife put together a big family party to celebrate the holiday. Al breaks it to me he's not going. ?? Confusion, frustration, irritation. (Keep your cool Karrie, keep your cool...) I left the house without my husband and not even completely sure why he decided to ditch his family and claim he wasn't very happy with me. It's been a while since I've felt so lost with his actions. I got myself all worked up in the car and had to take detours to compose myself before getting to the party. I ended up in a local church parking lot praying and asking for the strength to get my tears dried up and go enjoy my family. I was just so hurt. Why did he think it was OK to do this to me? Does he realize how it tears me apart? We were at the party for a few hours when he shows up. I was surprised to see him there; wondered what made him change his mind. More confusion; I don't know how to act when my insides are hurt, and we are not in a place to discuss what happened and WHY!? I am a why person, I like answers and his actions never match his words and I am constantly left feeling like I am the source of every part of his grief and I can do nothing right. My confidence is shattered and I had little confidence as a wife to begin with. I am not getting what I need emotionally and on top of that I am so tired. I am tired of not knowing how to act. I can't be myself; that's not accepted, I don't know who to be.

Party ended, he seemed ok, so I tried to settle back into comfort. We came home, got the kids to bed, I showered and came to bed. Al was in already in bed watching TV, so I turned the light on to do a little bit of reading from the book "Heaven is For Real"...apparently the light was bothering him because he got up walked over to my side of the bed and turned the light off. I asked him to turn it back on, he said no and walked back to his side of the bed. I switched it back on and said I would be done reading very soon. (He's still watching TV at this point) I finish up within 10 minutes, switched off the light, I was starting to nodd a bit while reading so I knew it was time to sleep. I started to drift off, not sure how much time had passed; I felt him next to me, he turned the light back on and I heard him say something while shaking the bed; "EARTHQUAKE DRILL" I do recall telling him he was acting like a jerk. Since I was awake, I noted he was watching something that I call "harming to my soul while I am trying to sleep" it was either violent or loud, or frightening, something along those lines that causes nightmares if you fall asleep watching or listening to it. We've had this conversation soooo many times about TV watching in the bedroom. My view is I hate having TV in the bedroom, but if you are going to watch it, please be considerate of the fact that someone else is in the room *trying* to partake in a peaceful slumber.
He is adamant that he is relaxing and I should leave the room if I don't like it. This is about the time that my insides always get all worked up, I start to feel tears coming, internally I am shaking, wondering what action is suitable for the current situation. I tried a conversation, he shut me down; told me we were done talking. What do I do? I am asking; WHAT DO I DO?!

I am eager to learn what the Lord wants to teach me, I just don't know if I have it in me to keep being treated this way; it's just not healthy. It feels so wrong; yet there is nothing I can do to change it. It kills me because it's happening TO me against my will and I have no solution. I am a solutions person, I want to make peace. Instead I shut down. That's my defense and it's the opposite of proactive. I am stuck and feeling low and just looking for answers.